Senior Editor Bill Koenig
US industrial production slid 0.1% in October, dragged down by decreases in automotive and paper products, the Federal Reserve said in a statement
. The decline follows a 0.8% rise in September. The Fed defines the industrial sector as manufacturing, mining and electric and gas utilities. Full Article
Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from material provided by Qualmark.
Faced with uncertain profit margins in an even more uncertain economy, the leaders of manufacturing enterprises find themselves scrutinizing every aspect of their business model to find ways to shave costs. Profitability targets are moving targets, while geopolitical concerns that pose the threat of creating economic trouble loom. Full Article
Ivan Winkler, Certified Welding Instuctor, TÜV Rheinland
When most people look up at a towering wind turbine, read about fracking in the Bakken region, or discuss construction of a nuclear plant, the last thing they think about is welds. Yet, safe welds are one of the most important elements keeping oil, gas or power flowing to their destinations. Given that I am a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), welds are pretty much all I think about during work hours. Full Article
Senior Editor Bill Koenig
General Motors Co. will produce the electric drive unit for the next-generation Chevrolet Volt at the company’s transmission plant in Warren, MI, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said at the Detroit Economic Club on Tuesday.The electric drive for the current generation of the Volt has been produced in Mexico. Full Article
Glenn Nausley, President, PromessInc.
It is no coincidence that hydraulics became the default technology for pressing applications during the century of cheap energy. Well, that century is over and today’s reality is very different. It is highly unlikely we will ever see energy that cheap again, which means, among other things, that it’s time to rethink the way we use electricity to generate kinetic energy in a broad range of pressing applications. Full Article
J.R. Quiles, Heavy Industry Program Manager, FANUC America
J.R. Quiles, Heavy Industry Program Manager, FANUC America
The outlook for the oil & gas industry appears to be very positive for 2014 and 2015, which is good news since it is one of the world’s largest industries. As high accuracy and tight tolerances are required on machined parts, revenues in this industry tend to be invested in new technology to increase production and improve product quality. All markets in manufacturing have been affected by the lack of skilled workers and oil & gas is no different. Products and technology that help less experienced workers increase part accuracy and productivity will help offset this situation. Full Article
James D. Sawyer, Executive Editor
Waste not, want not. Or as R. Buckminster Fuller noted, “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” We are getting wiser in this regard, especially in terms of turning waste into energy in the manufacturing sector. Full Article
Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from information supplied by Seco Tools LLC
Most consider threading a simple secondary turning operation, but nothing could be further from the truth at Borusan Mannesmann Pipe US Inc. (Baytown, TX). This industry-leading steel pipe manufacturer produces more than 300,000 tons (272,160 t) of pipe per year, and each piece—some greater than 13" (330 mm) in diameter and 40' (12.2-m) long—needs to be threaded at both ends. Full Article
The Energy Department’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) program is a workforce development initiative aimed at creating the next generation of energy engineers. IAC graduates possess a unique mixture of engineering and energy management expertise, combined with hands-on experience obtained by working directly with small- and medium-size manufacturing facilities across the country. The federal government has been supporting the IAC program—formerly known as the Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Centers—since 1976. Although initially housed within the US Department of Commerce, the program was transferred to the US Department of Energy in 1980. Full Article
While still not quite ready for the major leagues, using batteries for grid storage is establishing a solid base. Full Article
The nuclear power industry shows signs of recovery, but risks of many kinds are scattered across the path to the future. Full Article
Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz
Vermeer Corp., a family-owned and operated company was founded in Pella, IA, in 1948. Vermeer provides agricultural and industrial equipment to customers in more than 60 nations for industries including biomass, landscaping, pipeline, surface mining, tree care, and utility installation. For Vermeer, building a quality product for customers starts with a foundation of well-trained, skilled employees who are valued as its most important resource. Full Article
Joel Neidig, Technology Manager, ITAMCO
Worldwide demand for energy is growing. Fortunately, so too is the technology for producing energy. This is where the gear—that humble mechanical cogwheel that quietly goes about its job of rotating and delivering torque to various pieces of machinery—has an important role to play. Full Article
Michael C. Anderson
National Network of Manufacturing Institutes leaders answer questions at The Big M event Full Article
Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from information supplied by CNC Software
Until the mid-’90s Precision Fluorocarbon Inc. (PFI; Tomball,TX) was a nonmetallic machining business primarily serving the energy marketplace—the oil & gas industry in particular. After a severe downturn hit the oil business, the company was faced with the problem/opportunity of translating its unique competencies into other fields. Full Article
Edited by Executive Editor James D. Sawyer
How much electricity can a turbine construction more than 328' (110-m) tall generate? How can you ensure the assembly of any wind turbine runs smoothly when there is only one chance to put it together? Vestas Nacelles (Lem, Denmark) answers those questions with a strict quality policy enabled by high-capacity portable measuring systems. Full Article
James Crompton, Industry Research Analyst, IBISWorld
The US is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of energy, and this trend is expected to continue over the five years, to 2019. Improving technologies and techniques have enabled both oil & gas extractors and mining companies of all types to improve their operational efficiencies; consequently, manufacturers of machinery and equipment for these sectors have increasingly been experiencing strong demand for their products. Full Article
Ivan Winkler, CWI, Senior Manager, Field Operations North America, TUV Rheinland Industrial Solutions
Across the US, miles of piping are being placed and replaced due to new fracking projects. If structural integrity of pipes is compromised during manufacture, storage, delivery or installation, it may result in coating damage, which in turn will lead to pipe corrosion, causing gas leaks. This can increase project costs down the road and even endanger safety and health of personnel, the public and environment. Full Article
Executive Editor James D. Sawyer
Motorized vehicles were frequently mentioned during Heller WerkTage (literally Working Days) 2014 held at company headquarters in Nürtingen, Germany. That’s not surprising for a number of reasons. For one Nürtingen is not far from Stuttgart, where Karl Benz invented what is considered to be the first automobile. Benz was granted a patent for his invention in 1886. Eight years later the company now known as Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH was founded in Nürtingen.In the intervening 120 years both companies have grown and most often prospered. That’s illustrated by a little-known fact: since 2004 about 80% of the machining for heavy truck engines has been done on Heller machines. Full Article
PSI Repair Services, Inc.
PSI Repair Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries and leading independent service provider (ISP) to the wind energy industry, will showcase its extensive product upgrade capabilities to wind farm operations and maintenance (O&M) professionals at the AWEA WINDPOWER 2014 Conference & Exhibition.This flexible, cost-effective engineering service involves enhancing legacy components with newer, more reliable technology to improve performance and extend the component’s life. Full Article
Patrick Waurzyniak, Senior Editor and Ellen Kehoe, Senior Editor
Carbon nanotube-based fibers created at Rice University (Houston) show that on a pound-per-pound basis, the nanotube fibers have more capacity to conduct electrical current than copper. Although individual nanotubes can transmit nearly 1000 times more current than copper, the same tubes coalesced into a fiber using other technologies fail long before reaching that capacity. Full Article
Senior Editor Jim Lorincz
You would have to go 5000–6000' (1524–1829 m) under water to see the AZ-10 fully concentric vertical mono-bore subsea tree operating in its natural working habitat. The AZ-10 subsea tree manufactured by Argus Subsea (Houston) is off-the-shelf hardware that can operate effectively anywhere a rig can power a blowout preventer (BOP). Full Article
Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster
As a nation, we’ve already crossed the threshold and entered a new era of energy production. Consider: the US Energy Information Administration estimates that the US will be the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2013, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. Full Article
Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster
One of the biggest moments of the 2014 State of the Union was President Barack Obama’s announcement of six new manufacturing hubs
, or innovation institutes. Two are already in the works, including “America Makes,” the additive manufacturing hub, in Youngstown, OH, and the recently announced wide bandgap semiconductor hub in Raleigh, NC
. Together, these institutes, Obama said in his address to Congress, give us "the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs.” Full Article
ABB, the global power and automation technology group, has been awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2014 in recognition of its efforts to drive innovation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. "It is a great honor to have won the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2014,” said ABB Chief Executive Officer, Ulrich Spiesshofer. Full Article
Jim McKay, Editor, USW@Work, United Steelworkers Communications Dept.
Elliott Group, a 103-year-old maker of advanced centrifugal compressors and steam turbines, is expanding its United Steelworkers (USW) workforce and investing $110 million into a US factory that was once a candidate for closure. That’s the result of a remarkable turnaround in labor-management relations at Elliott’s main US manufacturing plant that was sparked by a local union that did not want to die. Full Article
Manufacturing Engineering Media Staff
The oil and gas industry is set for another year of record investment. According to recent analysis and report from IHS Global Inc. (Washington, D.C.), the recent surge in oil and gas transportation and storage infrastructure is not a short-lived phenomenon. Full Article
Edited by Senior Editor James D. Sawyer from information provided by Hurco Companies Inc.
Scotland has a robust contract manufacturing community that serves the oil & gas industry in the North Sea—and beyond. Full Article
Don Halas, Threading and Grooving Product Manager, and Scott Turner, Drilling Product Manager, Seco Tools
Demand for fluid ends is rising because of increased drilling and the component’s short lifespan.
Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from material provided by Okuma America Corp.
Automation helps provide LB Pipe with a competitive edge as well as a broader customer portfolio. Full Article
Oliver Hagenlocher, Director of Marketing, EMAG Sales and Services GMBH
The larger the component, the smaller the batch size—this is the way one could describe the demands made on heavy-duty machining in many branches of manufacturing. In fact, this simple equation provides as much of a challenge to wind turbine engineering and the production of large commercial vehicles as it does to, for instance, the railway construction industry. Full Article
Tony Tharp, Business Development Manager, Sunnen Products Co.
The shale gas boom in the US is creating its own boom for producers of metering equipment. Meter tubes, also called “meter runs,” are critical parts of the orifice gas meter, a device that’s been used for more than a century to measure gas flows. Millions of meter tubes are used worldwide, usually at custody transfer points to determine billing amounts. Full Article
Dale Petts, Global Product Manager of Metal Products, Simonds International
Due to rising fuel costs, there is a strong trend to manufacture turbines and engines with higher fuel efficiency to meet today’s energy challenges. One approach manufacturers are taking is to design these units to operate at a hotter temperature. Full Article
David Tulauskas, Director of Sustainability, General Motors Co.
Efforts to decrease dependence on petroleum and reduce carbon emissions extend beyond General Motors vehicles to our global manufacturing footprint. We are an industrial leader in ongoing energy and emissions reductions. Sound energy management policies help define manufacturing excellence, represent effective cost savings and offer obvious environmental benefits. Full Article
John Smegal, Workforce Development Lead, Advanced Manufacturing Office, US Department of Energy
The Energy Department’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) program is a workforce development initiative aimed at creating the next generation of energy engineers. IAC graduates possess a unique mixture of engineering and energy management expertise, combined with hands-on experience obtained by working directly with small- and medium-size manufacturing facilities across the country. Full Article
Concentrating solar power (CSP) plants represent a new challenge for automation. The ratio of about 400 I/O signals per MW is one of the highest in power generation. The system tags also have an extremely high ratio of about 3500 tags per MW. Full Article
Edited by Yearbook Editor James D. Sawyer from information provided by Siemens Industry Inc.
MCE Maschinen und Apparatebau GmbH (MCE; Linz, Austria) produces various components for large gas, steam, and water turbines, as well as for wind power stations and other segments of energy production. Full Article
David Yang, Industry Analyst, IBISWorld
Cheaper fuel will provide a boom in—and prove a boon to—US manufacturing. Full Article
James D. Sawyer
There were many areas Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI; Milwaukee) focused on during its Automotive Day October 15 at its facility in Plymouth, MI, but the two that stood out most can be summed up as electric and chairs. A large diversified company (workforce: 168,000) with a footprint in more than 150 countries, JCI supplies two-thirds of the lead-acid batteries consumed by automakers and the aftermarket. Also, it was the first company to produce lithium-ion batteries for mass production hybrid vehicles. Full Article
Edited by Senior Editor James D. Sawyer from information provided by Renishaw Inc.
Blade pitch adjustment is one of the most critical functions of wind turbine operation, and the giant bearings in the adjustment mechanism can now be manufactured with accuracy typically reserved for small parts, using a new KMT Lidköping vertical turn-grind machine from KMT Precision Grinding (Lidköping, Sweden; Milford, MA). Full Article
More than 3.3 million jobs will be supported in 2020 as the unconventional oil and gas revolution boosts industry competitiveness and manufacturing growth. Full Article
Edited by Senior Editor James D. Sawyer
Highly specialized contract manufacturer leverages CAM to resolve energy product development issues. Full Article
Matt Tegelman, Applications & Product Manager, BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc.
Helical interpolation and rough boring are two ways to open holes in fracking-industry applications, but as volume increases and speed becomes a factor, one operation emerges as superior. Full Article
Karun Chakravarthy, Solution Experience--Energy, Process & Utilities, Dassault Systèmes
Product development project management of wind energy generators is a complex process that can benefit from a single collaborative approach. Full Article
Edited by Senior Editor James D. Sawyer
Starting out small--really small--and then growing rapidly involves risk, courage, perseverance and the right machining technology. Meet a Texan who's traveled that path. Full Article
Contributing Editor Bruce Morey
Lean manufacturing is generally seen as being best suited to the automotive and similar industries. Full Article
Senior Editor Ellen Kehoe
Sustainable manufacturing approaches, standards initiatives and industry solutions were highlighted at a panel session June 13 at the NAMRC-MSEC advanced manufacturing conference, an annual event of the North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME and the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME. Full Article
David Sandalow, Under Secretary of Energy (Acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs Department of Energy
On the night of October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast of the US. The storm first made landfall just south of Atlantic City, NJ, with 80-mph (130-km/h) winds, torrential rains and record storm surges. Full Article
Daniel Yergin, Vice Chairman, IHS
The United States is in the midst of an unconventional revolution in oil and gas that, it becomes increasingly apparent, goes beyond energy itself. Today, the industry supports 1.7 million jobs—a considerable accomplishment given the relative newness of some of its technology. Full Article